Australia is getting a new weekly newspaper.
Those sick of reading news produced by Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia (formerly News Limited), rejoice. A fresh voice is hitting the newsstands, in the form of Australia’s newest newspaper, The Saturday Paper. It is produced by Morry Schwartz, publisher of The Monthly.
The Saturday Paper is available in print in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra each weekend. It will also be published on a website and mobile app. The new publication hopes to offer a deeper analysis of the stories of the week, rather than simply offering news as it breaks.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull attended the launch last week, making a controversial speech as he wished the publishers well. He has since been criticised by members of his own party and the media for appearing to disparage News Corp Australia chairman Rupert Murdoch and his publications during the presentation.
Mr Turnbull said to Mr Schwartz during his speech, "You are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss-making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions." Mr Turnbull has since explained that he was referring to US newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst with the comment.
He did, however, directly mock the reporting in The Australian newspaper, saying "there is nothing too small in terms of the deficiencies of the nation ... for them to focus on."
Mr Turnbull has addressed his critics, telling them he will not be playing favourites among media companies.
"They apparently would like me to be … the minister for right-wing communications or communications that agree with the Liberal Party.
"I am the minister that seeks to ensure that we have the freest and most diverse media we can possibly manage. I am the minister that wants to take away the barriers to competition wherever I can so that as many voices can speak out as possible, and whether they are left or right is of no concern to me in my capacity as the Minister for Communications."
Read more at the ABC News website.
Visit The Saturday Paper website to get a taste of what’s on offer.
I have finally started watching the HBO television series The Newsroom. It was recommended to me as a show about an idyllic world, set around a nightly news show in America, in which journalism is a profession of integrity and news reporters tell it like it is, political and social bias be damned.
I think it’s interesting that everyone who has described The Newsroom to me has done so with starry eyes, as if living in a world with honest reporting is an impossible dream, but one they’re secretly hoping comes true someday.
A line from Mr Turnbull’s speech reminded me of this show. He told his audience last week, "We should rejoice in our democracy and the diversity of our news and our journalism."
Of course everyone has their bias, and Mr Turnbull is no exception. But he is clearly trying to put that bias aside in favour of striving for “the freest and most diverse media we can possibly manage”. I certainly applaud that sentiment.
Perhaps the reason why print newspapers have been performing so poorly, and why so few Australian’s are prepared to pay to read the news online, is not because print newspapers are a dying breed. Maybe we’re just all really sick of getting our news filtered through Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia.
Australia is ready for a fresh voice in journalism. One which is honest and unbiased, and one which asks all parties the difficult questions, regardless of political standing. Whether or not The Saturday Paper is going to be that voice is difficult to say after only a week in print. I tend to think not, but I would be happy to be proven wrong. But it is very clear that there is space in Australia’s media industry for someone to step up and make shows such as The Newsroom a reality.
What do you think? Is Rachel being too hard on journalism in Australia? Do you think we have good access to honest news, or is there room for improvement? And will you be buying a copy of The Saturday Paper this Saturday?
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